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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Fall 1991, Vol. 3, No. 4, Pages 335-344
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1991.3.4.335)
© 1991 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Components of Visual Orienting in Early Infancy: Contingency Learning, Anticipatory Looking, and Disengaging
Article PDF (1.06 MB)

Three aspects of the development of visual orienting in infants of 2, 3, and 4 months of age are examined in this paper. These are the age of onset and sequence of development of (1) the ability to readily disengage gaze from a stimulus, (2) the ability to consistently show “anticipatory” eye movements, and (3) the ability to use a central cue to predict the spatial location of a target. Results indicated that only the 4--month-old group was easily able to disengage from an attractive central stimulus to orient toward a simultaneously presented target. The 4--month-old group also showed more than double the percentage of “anticipatory” looks than did the other age groups. Finally, only the 4--month-old group showed significant evidence of being able to acquire the contingent relationship between a central cue and the spatial location (to the right or to the left) of a target. Measures of anticipatory looking and contingency learning were not correlated. These findings are, in general terms, consistent with the predictions of matura-tional accounts of the development of visual orienting.